People want a capable, effective, inclusive, progressive government that can free this nation, writes JD Lovrenciear.
The victory of the BN-Pas pact in the Cameron Highlands by-election has been the subject of much analysis.
Many of the opinions and warnings issued hold water. Prime minister-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim was right too in stating that economic and living conditions must be addressed by PKR and Pakatan Harapan. Everything said, we need courage and honesty to be mindful of the potent force that lies beneath the tip of the political iceberg.
The outcome is clearly for than a reflection of the feelings of eligible voters of Cameron Highlands. It reflects the real sentiments of many across the nation.
Considering that BN won 56% of the popular vote in the Cameron Highlands by-election and that Pakatan took control of Putrajaya with just 46% of the popular vote in the last general election, the message is clear. The country may in all likelihood be stuck with a pendelum swing between Pakatan Harapan and Barisan Nasional in the years ahead.
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That is not going to herald stability and progress for the people. Policies will be made; policies will be dismantled; accusations and court cases will be mounted. And the nation will suffer. Such swings will permanently divide the nation – almost certainly along race, religion and territorial lines.
With the people having given an unthinkable general election victory to an alternative to BN for the first time in the nation’s political history, it is critical that Pakatan Harapan carries out some serious soul-searching after eight months in power.
The only way Pakatan Harapan can achieve more than 60% of the popular vote in the next general election would be through its readiness in fulfilling its election manifesto regardless of the circumstances.
Pakatan Harapan cannot afford to keep losing or even winning any future by-elections with just over 50% of the popular vote as it will further erode confidence in the much peddled ‘new’ Malaysia credo.
The feel-good factor from good governance has not yet been fully experienced or shared across the many divides in the country.
Umno’s roots are still very much alive even though the tree and its branches may (as some say) have been chopped off.
Justice and the rule of law can only be saved and be made to work full throttle if the government since can convincingly tackle corruption.
As political economist Terence Gomez has pointed out, for as long as the machinery (government-linked companies and government-linked investment companies) created to address the plight of the people is not made transparent and accountable, Pakatan Harapan would be teetering on a tightrope.
Anwar Ibrahim must know too that the tip of the iceberg is the economy and the cost of living. But the crux is that which drifts below. Race, religion, rights.
People want a capable, effective, inclusive, progressive government that can free this nation. They want the economy to thrive on a level playing field, free of corruption.